Ohio Environmental Council policy briefing June 22
Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans lost electric power last week when severe winds downed power lines in many communities and days of terrible heat strained the state’s grid just when people most desperately needed power to stay cool. Heat is the top weather-related killer in the United States. The non-profit Ohio Environmental Council is holding an online briefing Wednesday, June 22 at noon on policy at the state and federal level as we await a Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA that could seriously curtail the EPA’s ability to mitigate climate change. Register here.
Every congregation in our diocese is eligible for a grant of up to $10,000 for energy conservation retrofits that will reduce the strain you place on our grid. These grants are only available through June of next year. Apply here.
During the heat emergency AEP implemented a rolling blackout cutting power to almost 250,000 residents in Central Ohio, particularly affecting low-income communities with aging infrastructure. More rolling blackouts are likely across Ohio this summer. The Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that the number of days over 90 degrees in Ohio will likely triple by 2050, from the historical average of 10-20 days a year to 30-70 days a year. Climate change is also expected to intensify storms and lead to greater precipitation across the Midwest, according to research by the U.S. EPA.
Amanda Woodrum of Policy Matters Ohio posted a blog about the policy choices Ohio legislators have made over the past decade that have reversed our progress towards a resilient grid, particularly HB6, which killed Ohio’s renewable energy standards and energy efficiency programs that could reduce peak demand on our grid, which still depends heavily on fossil fuels.
Gun Violence Prevention, a call with the Episcopal Office of Government Relations
Speakers from the Prevention Institute will provide information about ongoing gun violence prevention efforts at the local and federal levels in a call scheduled for June 24 at 1 p.m. This follows the murder of three parishioners at St. Andrew’s, Vestavia Hills, Alabama by a gunman who came to the parish Boomers potluck last Thursday night. Register here. Every congregation in our diocese was required to develop an active shooter plan after the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018. Find it, update it, and make sure your staff and parishioners get refresher training.
On June 16, a man opened fire on people at a potluck at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was already on his way to Charleston, SC to offer prayer and Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME on the seventh anniversary of the murder of nine people by a white supremacist. He wrote a pastoral letter referring you to the resources of Bishops United Against Gun Violence. In addition, the Episcopal Office of Government Relations has published its second post in the Deradicalization series, reporting on federal efforts to address domestic extremism.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP)’s expanded Child Tax Credit lifted nearly four million American children out of poverty during the pandemic, but expired at the end of 2021 when the Senate failed to pass the Build Back Better Bill. By February, according to Columbia University, 3.4 million children fell back into poverty due to the loss of these monthly payments. The huge inflation in food and gas costs makes the child tax credit even more crucial. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has recruited two Republican co-sponsors (Senators Richard Burr and Steve Daines) for his Family Security Act 2.0 that would provide $350/month for children under 5 and $250 for children 6-17. Unlike the ARP, the credits proposed by Romney would only go to parents with earned income, so its anti-poverty impact would reach many fewer children, but still help. Contact Ohio’s Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown with your views on this bill.
For an overview of the powerful impact of relatively small monthly checks in overcoming poverty, see this post from the Episcopal Public Policy Network’s Series on Child Poverty and listen to this nine-minute podcast from National Public Radio “Going Backwards on Child Poverty.”
Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming, and a member of the diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org